Mike Coupe will step down as CEO of Sainsbury's at the end of May after six years at the helm, with Britain's second largest supermarket group opting for continuity by choosing retail and operations director Simon Roberts as his successor.
Coupe has faced questions about his future since April when Britain's competition regulator blocked Sainsbury's attempt to take over Walmart owned rival Asda for £7.3 billion.
Coupe was the architect of that deal and Sainsbury's share price has fallen 22% over the last year.
“This has been a very difficult decision for me personally," Coupe said of his impending departure.
"There is never a good time to move on, but as we and the industry continue to evolve, I believe now is the right time for me to hand over to my successor. Martin and I both believe the business is well set up, with a strong management team and a clear plan for the future."
Roberts, a former managing director of health and beauty retailer Boots, joined Sainsbury's in 2017.
On Jan. 10 Reuters reported that he was the leading internal candidate to succeed Coupe.